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The Financial Express

Laughter, humour and friendship in Friends: Why we love it, why we don’t


Laughter, humour and friendship in Friends: Why we love it, why we don’t

Friends began airing in 1994 and ended in 2004. Its magnificent humour or reasonably relatable characters were always absolutely adored and seen by numerous fans worldwide. 

The journeys of the six New Yorkers haven't subsided in the eyes of many audiences, and it's easy to see why it's still so popular today.

If you haven’t yet watched Friends, you can just start watching it today while celebrating Friendship Day.

Why people love Friends

Al Mamun is a Textile engineer, working as a Merchandiser at JM Fabrics Limited 

demystifies what attracted him to this series.

“Basically Friends is a TV series where some teenage bachelors come from different locations and stay together. They have different memories, different experiences and also different perspectives of life. But what is common, they care for each other. At a certain point, some of them fall in love, some of them break up also but that doesn't prevent them from caring for each other.”

“Friends is the series that I can relate myself to. I can recollect the memories of myself in student life when we might not have career planning or some other serious issues,” Mamun added to explain the pull of Friends.

Mayesha Farzana Maliha, Information and Technology Associate at PATA Bangladesh Dhaka University Chapter, shared how the series Friends attracted her.

“I love Friends because it acts as a sort of depression/sadness killer. They portray the plot so realistically and given their content and comedy, it felt like these are not fictional characters but they exist for real and that I'm a part of them too.” 

She did not forget to mention her favourite part as well, “You are always there for each other no matter how silly, lame, obsessed, or sarcastic you can be. What I loved the most about this series is that six of them are entitled as main characters. Each had their own story and the way the stories cooperated and completed each other.” 

As the writer asked which character she got similarities with, she replied with a bit of fun, “I find a lot of similarities with Rachel as we both are fashion freaks and we both, at some point, were clueless about life or what to do, a little spoiled you can say and a little popular.”

Shihab Shahriar Akib, a fan from the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, shares how Friends attracted him.

“I first watched the series in 2015 when I was in 11th grade. Always had a lot of Friends (especially at that time). My Friends suggested that I should watch this series as I liked good comedy shows.”

His favourite character isn't likely to be in the main 6, rather he loves the supporting characters, not one or two but a lot of them. 

“Each has their own reason (for being favourite). Apart from the main six, Gunther, Mr Heckles, Janice, Frank Jr… can’t finish!” 

He finds his similarities with Chandler as he explains, “Things that we both have in common is being quick-witted, (we) always have a strong comeback. Being insecure at times is also another thing that I can relate to him.”

Urmi Barman, an operational Marketing Executive at Prottoy, shares how Friends saved her from falling apart. 

“I started watching Friends while in depression and it gave me a person to save me.” 

“I loved how they grew over the years, how they overcame their unemployment, how they matured, how they held their Friendship over the years, how they started organising their family and all,” she added. 

She loves Rachel Green the most with all that stylish behaviour and narcissism.

Tamim Ahmed is a sophomore doing a BSc in Civil engineering from CUET and was pretty straightforward with his answer regarding his obsession with Friends. 

Interestingly, the hype was the reason he started to watch the series. Though he loves Phoebe, when asked which character defines him the most, Chandler was his answer. 

“I am hopeless, awkward and desperate for love. I make jokes when I'm uncomfortable. All the characters are unique and pretty layered. Depending on the situation, you’ll find yourself relating with all of them at different points.”

Why people hate Friends

However, there are opinions that differ from the popular gossip. Raima Ibnat Choudhury, a BBA  junior year student of Management Information System at Dhaka University doesn't think this show is worth that much hype. 

“This show contains sexism and fat-shaming. And Ross and Phoebe are pretty annoying characters. I feel Ross is just a self-absorbed manchild while Phoebe seems offensive and rude. And don't get me started on Joey. He treats girls in a bad way. Also, the background laughter sound (of sitcoms) is annoying.”

“Offensive stuff can't be funny even if it's presented as comedy content. Those are some of my issues with the show,” Raima concludes.

“How can a show be so disgusting?” asked Sabiha Sultana, an intern at the statistics bureau. 

She added with further disgust, “The background laughter seems like forcefully trying to make us laugh with tickles. And Ross is the worst. His toxic masculinity and cheating with girlfriends are always on my nerves.” 

“Phoebe is another one always shouting for no valid reason. And I personally feel six of them were too biased towards Janice as she was nice to them but all they did otherwise. And central park? Please, it's more like a central jerk!”

Nevertheless, there can be many sides to this but this 25-year-old sitcom still brings happiness to millions and it has that charm and magic.

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